Nonprofit Emergencies are Hard
Nonprofits tend to cruise along OK…until you hit a speed bump. If you're here, there's something big that needs to be handled, RIGHT NOW. Don't Panic. You’re in the right place.
Call us at 612.200.3679. Say you're a new client and my team will get you on the phone with our new client specialist ASAP.
How we approach conflicts and crisis:
I spent several years in-house at a large nonprofit and I'm a trained mediator. When I work with my team on a client emergency, our goals are:
✓ Minimize your lost time and money
✓ Help clients make clear decisions
✓ Reduce harm to the nonprofit
✓ Preserve your working relationships
It's a small world. The people in a conflict today may be potential funders or donors tomorrow. I can help you keep a clear head through difficult times, navigate situations with integrity and plan the way forward.
Things we can help with:
● Board and staff conflicts or removal
● Voting member disputes
● Financial fraud or theft
● Disagreements with key partners or outside groups
● PR nightmares
What clients say about working with us?
“This is the most thorough, but easy to understand email I've EVER read from a lawyer. THANK YOU!!!” – Mandi, voting member at an educational organization
“They were able to expedite my meeting and even get some quick advice the same day! The attempt to accommodate was refreshing and her advice was very intuitive to the situation and helped immensely!” – Bruce, Board member facing a time sensitive issue at a small nonprofit
“Jess knows [our staff] aren't administrators. She's patient. She works with them and helps them understand. At the end of the day it's not just about getting the job done, it's about helping them understand why we need to be where we're at.” – Ron, Public Finance Director at a national nonprofit
I’ve served as general counsel to a non-profit for the past 7 years. The work is very important and meaningful to me. When I have an issue that I’m unsure how to handle - I turn to Jess Birken for advice. Jess is based in Minneapolis but has built national reputation as a leader in non-profit law. I recommend her without hesitation.
Our church needed urgent legal help regarding changing our corporate status so that we could close on a renovation loan. Jess' office was able to talk with us on the phone about the issue immediately and within 3 hours we had an hour-long consult with Jess. She was proactive in her communication with all parties and went and filed the necessary documents in person. Because she was there in person - keep in mind we were working off of photocopies of a 107 year-old documents - Jess was able to fix a problem on the spot (a 5-6 look an awfully lot alike on old documents) and get the recorder to accept the filing. This meant we could move forward with closing without delay. I could not recommend Jess or her firm more highly.
I worked with Jess in the capacity of Board Chair for a neighborhood organization, which has access to her services for paperwork and contracts. Jess went above and beyond, ensuring we had paperwork and documentation necessary to support resolution of two major crises, as well as plan for future org changes. Our organization is stronger and more stable because of her astute contractual acumen. Not only that, Jess continually eased our stress through her positive, attentive and kind demeanor. She was a pleasure to work with! I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking clarity in contractual obligations and sustainable document planning for the future.
Jess is awesome to work with! Worth every penny and our organization is excited to work with her for the long haul!
Jess is so awesome to work with! A real champion for Non-profits and Neighborhood Organizations!
Workflow of a Nonprofit Emergency
1. Assessment & Diagnoses Phase. Book an ER Session. We'll work with you to try to stabilize, create a plan of action or (if possible) resolve the situation in under 2 hours. Time is usually critical to the process.
2. Action Phase. We help you develop a plan in the ER Session. Often clients elect to have us help with the plan, helping you manage the situation and connect you with resources you need while things are still in “triage” mode. We strive to be highly responsive in this phase.
3. Retrospective Phase. After the smoke clears, things feel less urgent. Now let's look at what we can do to protect you going forward. We typically work with clients to implement changes that will prevent future costly issues and keep mission delivery front and center.